July 27, 2010

October 2006

October 3, 2006
After Nova had his feet trimmed today he once again was tied up as Kaila was trimmed. I am happy to say that by the time she was finished he was resting a leg and just chilling out. Looks like he might be getting the idea of this patience business.

I did work on lunging a little bit while waiting for the farrier. He hasn't forgotten everything, and we actually did both a walk and a trot. Next time though I will take him down to the arena, because our yard does not have a spot that is good for lunging (between the gravel of the driveway, and our bushes/trees isn't much room).

October 22, 2006
Nova went to his very first lesson with Diane today. This was Diane's first look at Nova, and I like to think he made a favorable impression. The two of us decided to start long-lining him. I think Diane was expecting Nova to behave in what she would consider a 'typical' way - eyeballing the lines - even though I'd told her that wouldn't bother him a bit. She was impressed and complimented me (and I told her as well this goes more so to his previous owners than to me) on the wonderful work I've done with him. Though, he has been such an easy baby to deal with, I haven't really had any issues with him. Anyway, she first had me toss the lines back along beside him while standing at his head, three times on each side. At which time I think he almost fell asleep. Then we had him drag a line on one side, and then switched them - again, no reaction. Then of course, we had him drag both lines - still no reaction. And then we finished off with Diane walking by his head while I held the lines and did a bit of go, whoa, and a couple turns. At this point, of course, he's still following Diane more than anything, but he was still really good! I'm quite happy that he did live up to my word and was an absolute angel for this.
September 24, 2006
I took Nova to his very first clinic today, and he was utterly amazing.

The poor guy was picked up at 7:00am from my aunt's with Su and Kaila, then brought home, where we unloaded the two girls, then shut the door and immediately hauled him over to Sandy's (the lady who's place he was boarded at when I bought him). He did rock the trailer once he realized he was stuck in it by himself, but Mom said he settled down and travelled really well. I am happy that it was only a 15 minute drive over. We unload him at Sandy's, and he was a wee bit stressed, and gawked around. Sandy suggested we put him in one of her smaller pens that is attached to a stall in her barn. He was very excited and did lots of talking and looking. I didn't do anything with him in the morning, so he got to just chill out in the pen and snack on hay and cubes.

After lunch we went and worked in the arena on some in-hand trail obstacles. Oh my, I was so proud of Nova! He took to everything I showed him like an old pro. Here are some of what we did:
  • He walked across the big wood board on the ground
  • He walked through the L (we did back through part of it, which he wasn't so keen on... But he's a bit rusty with the whole 'backing up' concept)
  • The cavelletti we walked over (didn't trot them though)
  • Did some figure-8's around tires (do have to work on having him move his shoulder away from me when we're turning)
  • There were four sort of stations: one with part of a garden hose (which he could have cared less about), one with a kids winter jacket (which he didn't care about either, I put it right on his neck, and pulled it over his head), a lariat that I rubbed him all over with and smacked the post to make it make noise, and a grain sack with some seed in it, which he wanted to eat.
  • There weresome poles on the ground to walk over, and he was pretty careful about stepping over them.
  • And the box that he had to turn around in, which could have been better, though he didn't step out of it (mostly because he's small enough still).
  • And the thing I'm so mostly proud of him for is the tarp that was on the ground. They put poles along it, and then some sand and branches. He sniffed at it, then stepped right across. We even went the long way down it (it was actually pretty narrow and long) and he was awesome!!

I was so happy with how he just took to everything with barely a glance. Dawn (the clinician) was pleased with how well and quiet he was about everything. It was a nice surprise how well he did as he has not been handled a lot lately. I could tell where he was rusty on some things, but that is to be expected.

Once everyone had worked through the stuff, we actually moved back down to the round pen so she could work with the rest of the horses. While we were waiting for our turn, I was sitting on the fence holding him, and he actually almost took a nap standing there. He cocked a leg, and just chilled. I had her work with Nova just to get him to lunge. She's really good with the horses, so I was comfortable with her working with him. He picked it up pretty quickly (which made me proud), and she even had me get in there and do a bit with him. So now I know that he gets the concept, and I can work with him down at our arena. As he was going around, I did get a few compliments (there weren't that many people watching at that time) about how cute he is, and how he was going so well. Dawn said I'm going to have fun with him (not in a bad way!) and he's going to be a hoot.

So, I had a wonderful day at the clinic, and to top it off, Nova did load fairly well to come home. He wasn't all that happy about it, and was screaming his head off, but he did get in - and when he decided to get in, he just stepped right up and in without a second thought like he seems to be doing.

It may have been a bit of sensory overload today, but he took everything like a pro! When I go to show him, he's going to be just great. I can't wait!

Perhaps he's a keeper? Yes, I think so!

July 2006

July 2, 2006
It's official... Nova has a strong dislike for bath-time. I got to perfect my 'leadline and hose dance' while attempting to get him to stand still and realize that he would not actually melt. I did get him shampoo'd up (haunches to withers) and rinsed off, but it was not the most pleasant experience ever. It is something we will have to work on.

July 3, 2006
Today was farrier-day, and Nova was a gentleman. I was happy about that, as he hasn't had his feet handled much lately, being over at my aunt's. What Nova does need work on is, patience. Both Su and him were tied up while the farrier finished up with Kaila. It was pretty obvious that Nova was bored. First, he walked around the post as far as he could go, then he bit the hook the rope was ran through, then he got the rope over his head repeatedly, then chewed on his rope, then did his best to untie him self (he succeeded once), then pawed, and in a final attempt he tried to pull Su's halter off for her. He was definitely entertaining, but he will need to learn some patience!

June 2006

June 18, 2006
Today we actually made some time to go visit with Nova and Su at Auntie's. He's still a skinny boy - but I'm hoping it's cause he's using all the nutrients into growing strong bones!

I took him for a short walk alone, as it seemed like a good opportunity. As it turns out it was almost painful trying to get him to go away from the pasture. He'd walk a few steps, Kaila would scream, he would immediately stop and turn to look at Kaila, I'd encourage him to continue on, and the cycle would repeat... Over, and over, and over. He did manage to walk super fast on the way home though! I will admit it was slightly frustrating, but at least we did get our walk in.

He's, well, flexible!

June 28, 2006
We brought Nova, Su and Kaila home today. They are getting their feet trimmed in a few days. Nova loaded really well. Did his passive "I would much rather not to" by standing as close to the trailer as he can get, and just waiting for a miracle to happen. Unfortunately for him the miracle never comes, and he does indeed get into the trailer. I am happy with him even though he has to play around a bit before finally loading - he hasn't been handled a lot lately, and he really hasn't been hauled all that many times. I was determined to have him get in without bribery this time, and almost resorted to getting them, but just before I asked Mom for the bucket he decided to get in. And when I say get in, I mean that he goes, "Ok, I suppose I should," and walks right up and in without a second thought. I can honestly say that I will be willing to wait him out if it means that he walks nice and relaxed into the trailer.

Unfortunately today, unloading wasn't as great as it has been up until now. Basically, he didn't unload. He was good backing up to the end of the trailer, but when he stepped down, he scared himself, and after that, refused to get out. Even when I (literally) pushed him off. He would get his back legs down, then have to shove his way back into the trailer. In the end, both Mom and I pushed him out, and kept pushing until he spun enough and dropped his front end off too. It wasn't graceful, but it did get the job done. I will practice with him again now that he's at home. I am sure some people might be wondering what the big deal is about having him back out is. In this case, he is going to grow into a large horse, and our current trailer isn't wide enough for him to be able to turn around in. And as well, I don't like how most horses unload when allowed to walk out - they hover near the edge and then do a flying leap off the back of the trailer. Either way, now that it is an issue, it is one that will be worked on until it's a non-issue.

May 2006

May 28, 2006
There has been some neglect on the updating, it seems! Nova loaded up just fine to go back to my aunt's with a little bribery again, and his welling was almost completely gone by then. He has been hanging out and eating all the food he can stuff his face in. He's not fat by any means, almost slightly more skinny than I would like, but he's slick and shiny now. He's shedded out a more reddish colour than I was expecting, considering how dark his winter coat is. He's also up to date on his shots, so he's officially good to go.

July 26, 2010

April 2006

April 23, 2006
Happy first birthday, Nova!

We went in the morning to pick him and Su up from Auntie's place. I wasn't sure how he would load given that Kaila would not be going with them, and might start calling for them - it seems that Rhythm (Mom's other mare) was enough company for her. As I think bribery has its place sometimes I had a bucket of oats with me. After Nova had sniffed the entire back of the trailer I shook the bucket and asked him to "step up". I was really happy when after a short pause, he stepped his front end in and took a bite of oats. I wasn't sure if this would then teach him to step up, then step out - a 'game' that I just hate. Thankfully Nova only gave it a passing thought, as when I gave a little tug on the lead he stepped the rest of the way in. Good boy! I am very thankful about how relaxed he is about these kinds of things. When we arrived home I backed him out of the trailer again, and he did excellent.

For his birthday celebration he got some sweetfeed and oats to munch on. We measured him again, but he's still right around 14hh. I suppose at least he hasn't shrunk!

April 24, 2006
Today's the day that Nova became a gelding! Not that he really knows what he's missing.

Some friend's of ours that live just around the corner from us, and breed Morgans, were having two colts gelded as well, so we brought Nova over there in order to save a farm call. He had never been there before, an walked into their yard without a second thought. We brought Su along as company for him on the way to and from. The vet ended up being 45 minutes late, so he got to hang around waiting for quite awhile.

After two shots to make him drowsy and a third to knock him out he did a rather ungraceful flop onto the ground. Thankfully for everyone I didn't take pictures of the occasion (to save his modesty, of course). Afterwards as he was waking up, he didn't just flail up once he thought he was awake enough. He went from flat out laying half up like they do most of the time, with his nose resting on the ground and a slightly dopey look on his face. He laid like that for awhile before finally getting the energy to stumble to his feet. He was still a bit wobbly (and of course he was on a slight hill), but soon got his feet sorted out and was fine. The walk home was slow, but he didn't seem to be too sore (yet).

April 24, 2006
Nova didn't have too much swelling this morning. I did my best to chase him around, and then just left him alone to wander around and munch grass for the rest of the afternoon. Later, after supper, we took both him and Su down to the arena to chase him around again. The arena is rather large, which makes it difficult to chase them around. (It seems you end up doing just as much running as the horses do.)

April 26, 2006
Nova was a bit more swollen today than yesterday, but still not worringly so. Instead of chasing I decided a nice walk was in order. It kept him moving steadily for abour a half an hour. We went and did 'the loop', which is around past the place he was gelded at and through that little part and then back onto the main road through the Village and then back home. We had an amazing walk - and I don't even care if it's because he's swollen, sore, and it's really hot out. I'll take the amazing days whenever, and however, they come.

April 27, 2006
Tonight I enlisted the help of my parents to help get Nova really moving around... And again, I ended up doing more running than he did. It's hard to say if the swelling went down much, but he's still walking fine and there was a little bit of discharge while he was running around.

April 28, 2006
It appears the swelling is going down now, which is a relief! This means that he can probably go back to Auntie's this weekend and back to livin' the high life on a pasture full of grass. We went for another short walk after supper.

March 2006

March 14, 2006
Considering that I haven't worked with Nova much lately he was really good. His trick to get attention when he is tied up now is to get the rope/across his neck, and then to look at me all innocent-like, and be "Christine... I'm stuck." That cute brat of mine. At least with this little stunt he doesn't panic, which I'm very happy about. Having owned a horse that you could not tie up, I'm relieved that he is very cool with ropes.

I decided to take him back to the new subdivison again for a walk. Since he hasn't been out much lately, I think he really enjoyed being out. He of course noticed the scary rock again - and he had to stop dead, put his head up, and then bob it up and down to get it into focus, which was fairly amusing to watch! After going up to sniff it we continued on to the top of the hill to check out the new houses. On our way back, Nova developed his 'going home' walk - the one where it only takes you half the time to get back home. This is a good thing, as typically our horses are good walkers, so he can't be slow if he wants to keep up. He did try to jig, but after slowing down and making him yield to me, he settled down and walked nicely beside me. My lessons are sinking in.

March 22, 2006
Nova seemed very spunky today so I exchanged his nylon halter for his rope halter. To practice, I did this like you would put a bridle on - I put the rope over his neck, and took his nylon halter off and then put his rope halter on, and he was very well behaved. He didn't get very upset over the german shepherds, which is a nice improvement. I make the decision to go all the way to the arena, which went well until we reached the deep snow that we had to walk through to get there. He got silly on that section, but thankfully his silly isn't very dangerous, and is often done at the very end of the rope. He does seem to have a good grasp of personal space when he's being goofy or even when he is scared (he has yet to try to plow over me when he is spooking).

Had a near miss in the arena though. There is a chain that is used to close the gate, and I had hooked the lock through the chain, but it must have slipped out, as the gate swung wide open. Of course, this happened when Nova was standing between me and the gate. And of course he had to be looking right at the gate as it did this. Being the curious sort, he started to walk toward it, and I was doing my best to half jog to get around him but not get him excited enough to start trotting himself. Finally I called out, "Nova, no!" and while I have no idea if that is what stopped him or if it was something else, he turned and walked over to me. I was very relieved, and gave him a cookie before slipping past him and darting over to shut the gate. I do know that he probably would have just headed for home, and that if he hadn't taken off I could have walked up and caught him, but I'm still very happy he didn't make it out of the arena.

We played around the now completely secure arena for a bit longer - with Nova basically following me around like a puppy - before we came home. And boy did we come home in a hurry. Going home walk has definitely been established!

March 25, 2006
Today was Nova's first trailer ride since the day we brought him home. We hauled him, Kaila and Su (paint filly) over to my aunt's place. Our current trailer is a converted stock trailer that is a 3-horse angle haul, step up. It's kind of dark, and has a lower ceiling than is ideal, but it's a very safe trailer for them. We put Kaila in first in an effort to encourage Nova and Su to get in easier. Nova was the next to go in and he walked right up and stopped to sniff at the shavings we had put in. He wasn't anxious or scared at all, he just likes to take his time. After giving him a fair shot, to which he just stretched his neck as far into the trailer as he could go without actually stepping in, Mom picked up a front foot and put it onto the trailer floor. He tried to put it back on the ground, but she held onto it so he couldn't. When he realized that, he put it down on the floor and brought his other front leg up as well, followed shortly after with one hind leg. He was given crunchies for each step of progress he made. Finally after some more thought he stepped his other hind leg in and I led him up into the stall beside Kaila. Lots of cookies and praise! I am pleased with how relaxed he was about the whole deal, and I know it will get better (quicker) with time. It was only his third time on a trailer in his life.

As for unloading, I decided to get a start on making him back out, as all of our horses do. Again, he was very relaxed about the whole deal, and backed out nicely. He stopped when I asked, turned and looked out of the trailer, and didn't even panic when his feet came off the back. He did drag his front feet off, and turned into Mom a bit, but that's still ok in my books. I think the best part was how totally cool he was about everything.

February 2006

February 2, 2006
It was a gorgeous day out today (+4), so I brought Nova out of the pasture for some beet pulp. I was noticing how big he's gotten! I hope to measure him some day soon to see just how much he has grown. Because the hair is just starting to grow back on his legs (he rolled underneath a fence at the barn before I bought him and took all the hair off the front of his hocks) I decided to put some MTG on them. He was too busy eating to care about my rubbing greasy, smelly stuff on his legs.

After he was done eating we did a bit of work on turning on his forehand and haunches. It was the first time I've directly asked him to do this, and he picked it up so well! We only did some partial turns both directions - not too much, as I don't want him to strain his joints (or his brain). After working with our older gelding (Skye) who has no concept of moving around his front or back end, I have decided that Nova is going to learn this now, so it won't be so foreign to him when I ask him under saddle later on.

He's been a bit fussy to put back in the pasture as of late. He is beyond easy to catch and bring up, but when you go to lead him back he locks on the brakes and doesn't want to move. I've been putting steady pressure on the lead, and he eventually gives in and steps foward a few strides before repeating his protest. It's slow going right now, but I'm sure he'll get over this soon enough. Thankfully he is a dream about going through the gate, which I do appreciate. No one likes getting plowed over!

February 3, 2006
Today was another gorgeous day - +4 again! After going for a ride on Skye I brought Nova out and took him for a walk. He was a very good boy. To start with, he walked the entire time. He has had days before where he refuses to walk beside me and instead trots/jigs. Neighbours of ours have two large german shepherds that are fenced into the front part of their yard, and of course, these dogs love to bark at the horses as they go past. This usually freaks Nova right out (I kind of think he expects them to come through the fence and right up to him). Today though, he was so good and walked right up to their driveway without hardly a second thought. He did pause a couple of times, but I just waited and after a few seconds he would start walking again. He even went up to the scary garbage cans that were at the end of the driveway.

I then turned around and headed home, much to Nova's disgust I think as he kept his ears pinned back the entire time. So I decided to continue on past our driveway and along the short path beside our fenceline over to where a new subdivision is being put in. He's never been back here, and was very game to go exploring. Well, until the horse-eating large rock jumped out at him.... At least in his mind it did. We did go up to it, and he got a cookie for his efforts. When we turned to come back home he once again looked pretty unhappy with me - perhaps he really likes these adventures. Once again he put on the brakes heading to the pasture, but yet again, I won.

February 5, 2006
It was a very windy day today, and of course, cold. After mentally girding my loins, I convinced Mom to come for a walk with me to get the mail - and taking Nova and Kaila (his less-than-enthusiastic-about-it adoptive mum) along as well. As a precaution I put a rope halter on him, just in case he got a bit uppity because of the windy. As it turns out, it was uneeded, as he actually walked right past the german shepherds without being scared. I do think having Kaila along really helped. The area near the mailboxes is a new place for Nova, and as he seems to do - he took it like a pro. He did get a bit excited on the way home after a bit of in-hand trotting, but soon settled down again. I am really pleased that he doesn't seem to 'loose his marbles' if the weather is breezy.

February 6, 2006
Today was nice and sunny, and only a few degrees below zero. I did a bit of lunging with Skye in the yard while Nova was tied up, and he didn't even react when I snapped the whip a few times, and to the fact that Skye was running about in a large circle. I did practice a bit more turning on the forehand and haunches - I think he's picking it up well. I did some trotting in-hand with him, and he also picked that up quickly. He needs some work on the 'whoa' though.

February 7, 2006
I am so proud of Nova today! I took both him and Skye down to the arena, which means that I had to lead them both together, which is something I've never done with Nova before. He was awesome. What he was less than awesome about was when I was trying to get pictures, and all he wanted to do was follow me around! I had to resort to 'chasing' them to get any photos. Afterwards I walked up and caught Nova, then practiced some turns using the arena fence. He is starting to move over easily, and with only a little pressure.

February 15, 2006
Today while Nova was busy contemplating eating his beet pulp (his other option was pawing at it) I tried on some old blankets we have. Just wanted on that might kind-of-sort-of fit him if needed. He really could have cared less about the whole thing, until I went to take them off. Then he cared slightly, and in fact was more being silly than anything else. He didn't get away with any of that, and did stand for me.

February 23, 2006
Nova is 10 months old today! To celebrate, I measured him. He was 13.1hh when I bought him back in November, and today (as best I can figure with unlevel ground and no one to hold him for me) he is 14hh at the withers and 14.2 at his hip. Not too shabby! I think he's going to turn out to be a pretty nice size when he matures - yay! After a bit of practice with our turns, I put him away.

How it all began

Nova (Primo) was born on April 23, 2005 to the very wonderful Veronique from Formosus Sporthorses out by Calgary, AB. Pictured is a lovely image of a very new Nova and his dam Pavane (she has a new home and a new name now - Savannah), thanks to Veronique for providing it!

After he was weaned, he was sold to a very nice lady who boarded him very close to where I live. Circumstances changed and she needed to find him a new home - and along I came into the picture. I went and viewed Nova twice, and immediately noticed how well behaved he was for a youngster (7 months at the time), and well, just how gosh darn cute he was. So, I'm sure we can all guess what happened next - I brought him home! (Pictured is the cute little booger when I was picking him up.)

From November until February of 2006 I did some work with him, when the weather permitted, but didn't do a whole bunch with him. One thing I did find out was that he had been handled exceptionally well by his two previous ladies - a huge round of applause to them! They have made my life so much easier. :)

This is a picture of him from January, 2006.

The next post will be the start of my written adventures with Nova, in February 2006!


Welcome all,

This blog is dedicated to my life with Nova over the past 4 1/2 years, plus what great adventures we still have yet to experience. I am going to start from the very beginning, so you will have to bear with me while I get up all these posts. To any of you who already have, and to those who possibly will, follow along with our progress - a very deep thank you from me!